It wasn’t until Garrett Renslow was in his senior season at Maple Hill that he was considered “the guy.”
Although the right-hander was viewed as a solid pitcher — and according to his former coach Americo Frese, “a top-five arm in the Patroon Conference” — Renslow was in the shadows of teammate Tommy Miller, a hard-throwing left-hander who now stars at Siena College.
While Miller starred on the hill for the Wildcats, Renslow was always the consistent number two who worked on his craft to get better.
“Garrett was kind of a late-bloomer, because he has always been in Tommy’s shadows. But Garrett was a great pitcher in his own right and, as a senior, I would argue he was one of the best pitchers in the Patroon Conference,” Frese said.
Now two years removed from his breakout season as a senior, Renslow is throwing for the University of Rochester Yellowjackets in a starter/reliever role.
“It’s been a great experience, pretty much from baseball, to academics, to making new friends. It’s everything that I could have wanted out of my college experience,” he said.
The experience Renslow had on the hill as a freshman is one every pitcher entering their college career dreams of.
For some pitchers, it takes two years to earn a role in the bullpen or as a starter, but not Renslow. The former Wildcat earned the trust of his coach Joe Reina and snagged a role as a reliever early in the season. However, an injury a few games into the campaign forced Reina to elevate Renslow’s role from middle reliever to starter.
“Pitching is one of those things where all eyes are on you and I was glad that I could step up and step into someone’s role and help out the team,” Renslow said.
In his first season, Renslow appeared in nine games — six starts — and finished 2-2 with a 4.44 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 26.1 innings of work.
The biggest obstacle Renslow had to overcome in his first season was the jump in competition, going from the Patroon Conference to Division III baseball.
“It was definitely a big jump. Even when I came in the fall, they always say the game speeds up a lot and it definitely did. It almost sped up too much for me, but after getting some more confidence in myself and in my abilities, everything started to slow down,” he explained.
After his freshman year, Renslow opted to play collegiate baseball in the Interstate Collegiate Baseball League, another avenue for the young right-hander to face college-level talent and continue to work on his craft and confidence.
Renslow’s goal in competing in the league was to work on his control, and in five appearances and 23 innings of work, the Maple Hill product was able to recapture his confidence after several solid starts late in the season.
Although Renslow will not be competing in the local Hudson River Baseball League this season, he plans on playing for one of the teams based in Albany, potentially the Albany Dutchmen, whom he spoke with on May 4 about an opportunity to play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this summer.
It would be a grand opportunity for Renslow to continue to grow as a pitcher and build off of a stellar sophomore season.
Renslow started his second season for the Yellowjackets as a starter and tossed two games and 10⅔ innings. He had a setback after a start against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on March 30, though.
The right-hander suffered an elbow injury that forced him to sit out close to a month, losing nearly his entire sophomore season.
“It was pretty tough watching the guys and watching the games from the sidelines,” Renslow said. “I’ll cheer and I’ll be rowdy and everything and try and keep the team riled up, but I really couldn’t do what I’m here to do and help out the team in that way. So it was a real blessing that I wasn’t hurt worse than I was and that I was able to come back this year, and that I was able to work through it.”
Renslow made his return against Ithaca on April 26 and hasn’t looked back, appearing in three games and tossing seven innings of shutout baseball. The right-hander has surrendered six hits while striking out eight.
Renslow had the opportunity to come in relief against Rochester Institute of Technology on May 5 and his two shutout innings helped the Yellowjackets secure a 3-0 victory and their first Liberty League title since 2010.
Renslow finished the regular season with five appearances — two starts — and 2-3 record with a 2.45 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18 innings of work.
“Right now I am feeling pretty good. I want to be aggressive and go after hitters,” he explained, prior to his team heading into the postseason. “I think that if I pitch my game, I’ll be strong and be able to help my team moving forward into the Liberty League tournament.”
Renslow had the opportunity to continue to raise his stock as a pitcher in the bullpen in the playoffs.
Against RIT in game two of the Liberty League tournament, Renslow tossed 1 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits while striking out three.
In game six against Union, an extra innings duel, the sophomore allowed his first runs — two earned — since March 30 in 2 2/3 innings of work. The MH alum surrendered four hits and struckout two in the outing, but Rochester was able to capture a 7-6 win.
Unfortunately, the Yellowjackets fell to Union in the championship game of the Liberty League tournament, 8-0.
Renslow finished his sophomore campaign with a 2-1 record and a 2.82 ERA over 22 1/3 innings. He fanned 26 batters along the way, 13 more than his freshman season which saw him throw four more innings.
With the chapter of his sophomore season closed, Renslow has his eyes set on next season and has a big goal in mind.
“I really want to be ‘the guy,’” he said. “I am going to work really hard over the summer, I am going to try and come back and be the best that I can be and I would like to continue my role as a conference starter even though I got sidelined this year by the injury.”